Friday 28th November — Monday 1st December Basel, Switzerland

One of Switzerland's underrated tourist destinations, Basel has a beautiful medieval old town centre, a vibrant Carnival, and several world class art museums. Basel is also rich in architecture old and new, with a Romanesque Mόnster (cathedral), a Renaissance Rathaus (town hall), and various examples of high quality contemporary architecture. Home to the biggest Christmas market in Switzerland Basel offers something for everyone. Switzerland's largest city Zurich is an hour away and Basel borders both Germany and France to which the only cross border tram ride goes. Basel has a good selection of food and drink and the Fischerstube (Basles smallest brewery) is recommended, and of course Swiss chocolate will be available, and hopefully it will be suitably Christmassy.

Contact Mark or Tim for more details

Friday 17th — Sunday 19th Oct 2014 Bridges, Long Shropshire

People Of a certain vintage recall the early days Of Camra. Britain had about 77.000 pubs in 1 975, but as breweries were disappearing through a process of mergers and acquisitions it was becoming harder and harder to get a decent pint of beer as the 'Big Six' fizzy beer and destroyed Britain's brewing heritage at the sametime . In those days there existed only SIX home breweries! These Traquair House, Inncrleithen (Scotland), the Blue Anchor, Helston (Cornwall), the Miners Arms Priddy (Somerset), the Old Swan, Dudley (West Midlands). Shropshire became a place Of pilgrimage with its two the All Nations at Madeley and the Three Tuns at Bishops Castle.

Much has changed since then. Paradoxically, thousands of pubs have closed, whilst breweries are opening up every week. The choice of beer has become phenomenal, but sometimes harder to find! The Three Horseshoes at Bridges lies in a rural backwater on the flanks of the Long Mynd. Although, well supported at weekends it suffered during the week with poor trade. As a result it closed down and was closed. Things looked pretty grim. Pubs in better locations with a bigger local population have gone completely So after about 18 months it as bought and under went a major, but sympathetic refrubishment The owners are the Three Tuns Brewery nearby Bishops Castle and this is their first pub and official brewery tap serving their complete range of beers.

We have managed to get a very good deal from Peter Crouch, the Iandlord (not the footballer the gifted feet) for the SHOTlet free with the accommodation they have. All that is required is that we have breakfast, evening meal and beer in the pub. Sounds good to me. They have 14 beds (Ix6 and 1 x 2, and 1x6 bunkhouse). Meanwhile the Shotlets and their parents are booked into Bridges Youth Hostel less than 200 yards up the road, This is a former youth hostel doing better business as an Independent. We should be getting sole occupancy of their top floor with 2 dorm (1 x 1O, 1 x 12 beds) and a ground floor 4 bed ensuite.

The Long range OF hills are formed Precambrian rock, s0me of the oldest to be found in the British Isles. They help create for South Shropshire what looks like the quintessentially English pastoral landscape. The nearby Stiperstones quartzite ridge offers a bit dramatic. All very pleasant walking and mountain biking/ horse riding country.

Bridges is NOT very easy to find so no route directions this time. It lies 4 miles northwest Of Church Stretton and 6 north east of Bishops Castle. Ratlinghope is the of name of what claims to be the village. The postcode For the hostel is SY5 OSF. The grid reference for the pub is SO393963

Friday 21st March – Sunday 23th March 2014, Coniston, Lake Disctict

Ben and Daniel have been happily going along believing that their Mum and Dad are like Peter Pan and will never get old. Special birthdays always happen to other people. Well, they are in for a surprise as Nick and Suzy will be celebrating their joint 40th One parent is a tad more senior than the other! We have managed to book the St.Andrews Youth Centre in Coniston. This looks like rather large luxurious place owned by the Diocese of Carlisle smack bang in the middle of Coniston. The centre has 46 beds in 7 rooms (1 double, 1x2, 1x6, 2x4 , and 2x16 beds) with the possibility of a few extras on settees. It has all the usual facilities that you would expect from a Diocese establishment. Nick and Suzy will be including a few family and friends for the weekend, so we should be getting a bumper crowd.

Depending which Bible you have in your hand, Fiction or non-Fiction, the centre is very easy to find. The Good Beer Guide states that the Black Bull Inn (home to Coniston Brewery) is found in the centre of Coniston. Directly opposite is the church (you may spot a small sign for the centre). Take the road to the right of the church (do not cross the bridge by the Black Bull) birthdays on this trip. After about 80 yards turn into a large courtyard on the left with the centre at the far side, you are now more or less behind the church.

Apart from the excellent range of Coniston beers (7 Brews) at the Black Bull, The Good Pub Guide Book also mentions the Sun Hotel in Coniston which has a superlative choice of Lakeland beers. This pub can be found by crossing the afore mentioned bridge, turning right steeply up the Walna Scar Road for about 100 yards. How much time Nick and Suzy will be spending in either of these two pubs will be open to doubt, but I am sure we have enough Mums and Dads who can look after a couple of well behaved boys for the evening.

Little needs to be said about Coniston and Coniston water. I am sure people will have been there or passed through at some point in their lives. It is an excellent base for high level walking immediately behind the village (e.g. Old man, Wetherlam, Dow Crag) or a short drive to equally rewarding mountains. Low level opportunities are plentiful around the lake, Tarn Hows or towards Torver and Hawkshead. In fact Coniston is a pretty good spot to explore much of the Lake District.

Please send the usual £5 deposit to Gustav to book a place.

Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd June 2014, Black Mountains

Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd June 2014, Pengenffordd, Black Mountains

Currently in the crease with a stylish 49 not out is Julian. He expects to complete his maiden half century over this weekend. The time it takes between the wickets takes a bit longer these days, but conversely the run rate seems to have accelerated. Like some of us he now finds the shampoo lasts twice as long, barbers give him a discount and wearing a large sun hat when fielding has become compulsory! So let us help Julian celebrate his first half century and set him up for the next!
Some People may have recognised the location of this trip. A few years back we stayed there in the Trekkers barn and adjoining campsite at the Castle Inn. In those days a very young Lindsey insisted on sitting on the toilet with the door wide open.
Very recently a change of ownership has led to the pub to being renamed as the Dragons Back. The six bedded room in the barn has been booked and will be occupied by the Birthday Boy plus members of the First Team Squad. There is no self catering so all meals will be taken in the pub-barn, plus breakfast is at a very reasonable rate.
The Second Team Squad will be staying at the nearby Brecon Bunkhouse at Cwmfforest Farm less than 15 mins walk away down a track. This bunkhouse has 31 beds (1x10, 2x2, 1X6, 1x8, 1x3) it looks very comfortable indeed but bring a sleeping bag. Apart from all the usual facilities there is also the unusual opportunity of trying your hand at some equine activity. The Black Mountains has become justly famous for pony trekking/horse riding and mountain biking, and Cwmfforest has become a centre where these past times may be pursued. This may be of particular interest to youngsters who have yet to experience the pain of sitting in a saddle for hours at an end!

Check out web sites: and

The Black Mountains form the eastern part of the Brecon Beacons national Park. Primarily they consist of four steep parallel ridges rising up to moorland over 2000ft. Their attendant valleys are cul de sacs apart from the Vale of Ewyas which is penetrated by a minor road going over the Gospel pass. Bridleways cross the area and much of the open moorland is popular with the four legged fraternity. There are a few steep sided minor hills and the large Llangorse Lake on the western extremity. Pengenffordd is situated on the A479 between Talgarth and Crickhowell at the highest point (1000ft) which separates these two areas. Further south is the Usk valley and the main escarpment of the Brecon Beacons themselves.
Getting to Pengenffordd is quite simple. Drivers approaching from the north at Hay-on-Wye will head towards talgarth where they will pick up the A479 towards Crickhowell. After about 3 miles a couple of minor roads coming in from the left will herald the Dragons Back pub also on the left. Continue for another 700 yards and turn left down a minor road for about 300 yards to reach Cwmfforest Farm after one sharp right hand bend. Turn left into the farmyard after the Trans Wales banner. The bunkhouse is on the left. From those coming from the Crickhowell direction, leave the main A40 Brecon road west of the town on the A479. Pass through Cwmdu after 2 miles and then 3 miles later take what is effectively the first right turn down the minor road as mentioned above.

For those with sat navs treat these postcodes with caution.
Dragons Back is LD3 0EP. Grid Ref 173296
Cwmfforest Farm is LDU 0EU. Grid Ref 183292
Please send the usual £5 deposit to Gustav to secure a bed or two.

Please send the usual £ 5 deposit to Gustav to secure a bed or two.

Friday 17th – Sunday 19th October 2014, Shropshire

Details to Follow

Please send the usual £ 5 deposit to Gustav to secure a bed or two.